11-99 Foundation

What do you get for the person who has it all? Gift cards are impersonal, cuff links are even more obvious, but what if you could buy a get-out-of-jail-free card? For the starting price of $2,500, Californians reportedly may be able to do the next best thing. An 11-99 Foundation Membership gets you into an organization whose goal is to support families of California Highway Patrol officers in times of crisis or hardship. (In police language, “11-99” is radio code for “officer needs assistance.”) The donation is certainly for a noble cause, but it also comes with a perk in the form of a highly coveted license plate holder. The frames are serialized, cannot be bought on their own and have inspired numerous knockoffs that can be bought online for anywhere between $200 and $1,000. Officers deny any kind of favoritism for members, but the displayed status has been called “a license to speed” as well as “purchasing leniency” in several articles and on many online forums.